Five True Statements About ‘Better Call Saul’: Mike Is Not Here For Your Hooey

Editor-at-Large
08.28.18 7 Comments

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Five True Statements is exactly what it sounds like, a discussion about the most recent episode ofBetter Call Saul’ centered around five undisputable statements of fact. Mostly undisputable, at least. I would never lie to you on purpose. Especially not aboutBetter Call Saul.’

1. Mike Ehrmantraut is not here for your hooey, no matter who you are.

Examples in this episode of Mike not being here for people’s hooey, ranked from least to most cranky

Cranky: Mike roasting various Madrigal employees’ beans over temperatures and straps and such.

I like that Mike has decided to take his new job — which, again, pays him very handsomely to provide security and consulting for a drug cartel, with a position at a large conglomerate as a front — so seriously that he spends half his days running around the facilities playing safety inspector in the trucks and warehouses. He doesn’t have to do all that. I know he wants the job to look real, and there’s probably a big chunk of him that has to do it so his piles of drug money feel “earned” through real legit labor, but he doesn’t have to be such a stickler about everything. There are other people at Madrigal whose real, actual jobs are to do those things. But they’re not doing them right, or at least not to Mike’s standards (the people who work in those warehouses must hate him so much), and so Mike must be Mike and correct things.

Very cranky: Mike telling Gus to cool it with the damn games even though he was surrounded in an empty lot by angry cartel murderers at the time

We’ve discussed Gus Fring’s chess maneuvers a few times already this season. The man sees the angles and plots moves out three or four in advance, which gives him an advantage over hotheaded shooter-types like the Salamancas because he can trick them into starting a territory battle that they’ll lose even if they win. Mike, though, has no interest in being tinkered with or run through hoops or intimidated. Just tell him what you want, Fring. The man has refrigerated trucks to check, for the love of God.

Very, Very Cranky: Mike ripping a therapy ruse to pieces.

You knew he wasn’t going to be able to hold that in. You knew from the second he mentioned it at breakfast, how one of the members of the therapy group was making up stories to soak in the pity and/or sympathy the group provided, that Mike was going to call him out. Maybe not this week, but definitely soon. Then the guy — played by Marc Evan Jackson, most recognizable as Shawn from The Good Place or Raymond Holt’s husband Kevin on Brooklyn Nine-Nine — started talking and Mike’s lip started twitching and that was that. Sorry, buddy. Time to find a new crop of suckers. Officer Mike of the Anti-Hooey Task Force strikes again.

2. You can’t give a schemer too much free time.

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The thing about a schemer, a guy like Jimmy McGill, is that the gears are always cranking. He can drown out the noise a bit if he keeps himself busy enough or if he has a temporary flash of good old American work ethic (temporary being the key word), but if you put him in, say, an empty cell phone store in the middle of a desolate strip mall and give him nothing to do but bounce a rubber ball off of a wall, he’s going to scheme. It’s just the way he’s wired. In hindsight, painting the storefront with a very thinly-disguised siren song to drug dealers was a pretty harmless scheme, in the whole grand design of things. Sure, his boss might not be pleased, initially, but at least the goal of this was to sell more cell phones and not, like, rob the guy’s house and sell his stamp collection to a fence who works for an underworld veterinarian, you know? Gotta pick your battles, bud.

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